We tried the dishwasher tablet in shower hack – here's what happened

Should you put a dishwasher tablet in the shower to clean it? We've tested the latest cleaning craze ourselves so you don't have to

putting dishwasher tablet in shower
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Heard about the lady who put a dishwasher tablet in the shower and got it sparkling clean? We must admit we've been intrigued by this one. Technically, there's no reason why a dishwasher tablet can't be part of a how to clean your shower routine. It is compressed detergent after all, and it's easy enough to hold with a sponge or a cloth. But does this method actually work?

Reader, this writer tried this cleaning hack in her own shower – she concludes that putting dishwasher tablets is a terrible waste of time and money. Here's why. 

put dishwasher tablet in shower

(Image credit: Anna Cottrell)

I used a dissolvable tablet by a leading brand, in combination with an e-cloth, which should've made the cleaning results even better. You can see more of the best dishwasher tablets in our guide.

put dishwasher tablet in shower

(Image credit: Anna Cottrell)

The starting point is a shower that's fairly clean but has some hard water stains on both the natural stone tiling and the metal fixtures, as well as some grout discoloration (not mold, I promise). 

put dishwasher tablet in shower

(Image credit: Anna Cottrell)

Without further ado, I moistened the tablet with warm water and began scrubbing away at the tilling, the grout, the metal fixtures, and the drain area of the shower base. One thing I noticed straight away is how surprisingly abrasive the dishwasher tablet was even as it was softening from the water. The other thing that quickly became apparent was that all that scrubbing was doing nothing whatsoever for my tiles or grout.

It is possible that. I would've got a better result on glazed ceramic tile, which is more similar to the dishes that the tablet is designed to clean.

put dishwasher tablet in shower

(Image credit: Anna Cottrell)

Next, I tried the tablet on the metal shower fixtures. I was definitely getting a much better result here, with the hard water stains removed fairly well, although I still had to put quite a bit of effort in. 

Finally, I tried scrubbing the limescale ring around the shower drain area with the tablet. Again, with zero success – the limescale did not budge, the dishwasher tablet was continuing to disintegrate into small bits. That's about it.

put dishwasher tablet in shower

(Image credit: Anna Cottrell)

Why was the dishwasher tablet ineffective at cleaning my shower? I looked up the ingredients of the tablet I was using, and the main ingredients were Sodium Citrate, Sodium Carbonate Peroxide, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium bicarbonate, Sodium Silicate. Basically, our dishwasher tablet is made from a variety of water soluble sals and baking soda. Very effective at washing away the acidic stains from food off of ceramic plates and metal cutlery (provided the water is not too hard) – not so effective at cleaning your shower, which has got deposits from calcium and other minerals in water. 

I think I'll stick to my favorite shower cleaning spray instead. It contains surfactants derived various types of alcohol and fatty acids and lactic acid – now this stuff really works on limescale and other build-up in your shower. It is also much, much cheaper to use a few squirts of a spray than wasting an entire dishwasher tablet. My tablet works out as costing a bout a quarter; my spray cost me about four dollars – there is no way I use up a quarter's worth of that product every time I clean the shower. 

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

In 2018 Anna moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a special interest in city life, decorating small spaces, and urban gardening.